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Filipino Catholics seek forgiveness for 'sin of abortion'

Pope's special dispensation for absolution will encourage more 'sinners to come forward'

Filipino Catholics seek forgiveness for 'sin of abortion'

A priest hears confession in Manila during a conference on evangelization during the celebration of the Year of Mercy. (Photo by Angie de Silva)

 

Joe Torres, Manila
Philippines

November 23, 2016

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A number of Filipino Catholics have sought forgiveness for committing the "sin of abortion" during the observance of the Year of Mercy, a Catholic priest said.

Father Reginald Malicdem, rector of the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Manila, admitted that there were people who confessed to the "sin."

"I don't know about the experience of my fellow priests, but I think there were about ten abortion cases in the Year of Mercy that I encountered," said the priest.

Father Malicdem said some of those who confessed were men.

Father Jerome Secillano of the Nuestra Senora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish, also in Manila, said "the absolution from the sin of abortion covers not only women … but even those who cooperated in making it happen."

The priest said abortion is a "grave sin" but Pope Francis made "forgiveness and reconciliation very much available and the path to mercy easily accessible."

On Nov. 21, the Vatican announced that the pontiff has extended indefinitely the power of Catholic priests to forgive abortions.

At the start of the Year of Mercy last year, Pope Francis granted a special dispensation granting all priests, rather than just bishops and specially designated confessors, the power to absolve the sin of abortion.

"I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life," read Pope Francis' letter released this week.

The pope wrote that: "there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father."

"May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation," said Pope Francis.

"I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion," he said.

Father Secillano said the extension given by the pope to priest-confessors would allow more people to seek absolution for abortions.

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